You might feel Christmas should stay in its box in the attic until December 1 rolls around, but the festive beast simply can’t be tamed in Edinburgh.
Since we’re already hearing the faint ringing of sleigh bells and smelling mulled wine in the air, here are 10 ways to tell Christmas is coming in Scotland’s capital.
1. The Dome puts up its decorations
The Dome’s decorations actually went up before Halloween so Christmas has been a long time coming for anyone who ventures onto George Street on a daily basis.
Their absolutely insane number of fairy lights, lit wreaths and enormous, sparkly Christmas trees both inside and out may seem excessive to some, but the decked out bar and restaurant has become a heartwarming festive landmark for most Edinburgh locals.
2. Serious Crimbo construction starts in the city centre
You know it’s time to get cracking on your letter to Santa when – seemingly overnight – both Princes Street Gardens and St Andrew Square suddenly become building sites.
With stalls for three different markets, two ice rinks and an enormous ferris wheel (more than 40 metres or 130 feet tall) to construct before mid November the organisers of Edinburgh’s Christmas have got their work cut out for them.
3. Every single restaurant in town is offering a festive menu
Christmas pizza, anyone? Or maybe you’d prefer a suitably festive burger.
No Edinburgh restaurant wants to be left out of the Christmas night out circuit, resulting in some seriously surreal takes on yuletide fare. That being said, it’s a nice change from turkey and sprouts, especially if you’re on your third Christmas party of the season.
4. Princes Street is packed
Christmas shopping today in Edinburgh is absolute madness!
— ileana (@EilidhCuerden) December 23, 2014
It’s been just long enough for Festival trauma to wear off but suddenly Edinburgh’s main shopping street is mobbed again, this time with thousands of crazy Christmas shoppers.
Whether it’s Saturday afternoon or 10am on a Tuesday there’s suddenly even less room to breathe on Princes Street than there was during August. Use your elbows to fight your way through the throng, or maybe just plan an alternative route until the New Year.
5. Spending time outside in the cold is suddenly a fun activity
If you thought your days of drinking outside in the freezing cold were well and truly over, think again.
During November and December you’ll undoubtedly find yourself wrapped up in six to eight layers at the Christmas Market and quaffing as much alcohol as possible to keep warm. Just remember you’re not allowed to say you’re having a miserable time – it’s Christmas.
6. The cinemas start to show Christmassy movies
The cinemas around town traditionally screen The Muppet Christmas Carol every year, as well as a ton of other Christmas film classics like It’s A Wonderful Life, Home Alone and Elf.
The qualifying characteristics of a Christmas film do seem quite vague these days, resulting in movies like Die Hard and Mean Girls being shown in December too. If Christmas is mentioned in the script, it’s a festive film.
7. Every inch of the city is lit up
Forget Blackpool Illuminations – every building and unsuspecting tree in Edinburgh’s city centre is wrapped in fairy lights and lit up for Christmas and New Year. The result is magical, although we can’t even imagine how eye-watering the electricity bill must be come February.
8. Hot alcohol becomes a thing (again)
Found yourself craving a steaming mug of warm wine or cider lately? Edinburgh’s Christmas must be on the horizon. Although you normally prefer your Sauvignon Blanc chilled to perfection, you don’t to turn down mulled wine and be seen as a scrooge. Luckily you’ll be back to ice cold beverages in a month or two.
9. Stealing crockery is socially acceptable
Speaking of mulled wine, nothing says holiday cheer quite like pocketing the mug you just emptied and taking it home. You paid a deposit for that Christmas-emblazed cup, so technically it’s not stealing – right? When you end up with a matching six-piece set, though, it’s probably time to re-evaluate.
10. Being a big kid is mandatory
Just saw the star flyer being put up in the Edinburgh Xmas market. Anyone wanna come with me pllleeassee
— angela (@angibabes) November 19, 2015
Are you suddenly itching to hop on a carousel or try your luck on the terrifying Star Flyer ride? Most Edinburgh residents will probably notice themselves getting childishly excited as the big day moves ever closer, but that’s just another symptom of Christmas fever. Allow yourself to be a big kid and enjoy Edinburgh’s Christmas while you can. After all, it only comes but once a year.